Control Center. Image by Benjamin Wendl. Tail and Head. Click for an animation of the head and tail in motion. Arms and Jaw. Click for an animation of the arms and jaw in motion.
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This large Technic set cost a fortune when it came out in the mid 90s, but it was a beast. With 3 motors and a massive programmable control box, it was the equivalent of a Mindstorms set.
Even the RCX was still a few years away, so this was top of the line electronics in Legoland. Instructions are included for 3 models - a hovercraft, a helicopter, and a dinosaur. I'd be terribly remiss not to mention here the excellent writeup Blakbird already did in his Technicopedia here. He has excellent renderings of all the mechanisms so you can clearly see how everything works.
Definitely go check his page out - but after you read mine here of course! Set Number: Pieces: Minifigs: 0. Theme: Technic. Year of Release: Links: Bricklink Peeron Brickset. Building the Hovercraft, 1 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. The hovercraft begins like most old Technic vehicles, with a beam and plate frame. There's a bevel gear on one of the axles, and a pair of power cables have been installed.
We'll see later what these all do Building the Hovercraft, 2 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. A lot gets added pretty quickly. The shape of the vehicle is now obvious. Wheels are installed with those red belts connected to one of them to provide power.
A pair of motors sit on those power cables from the beginning, with the other ends of the cables stuck down next to the motors for later connection to the rest of the system. Building the Hovercraft, 3 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. The upper layers of the craft are taking form as well. There's a sporty yellow stripe to give a little color to the black vehicle. A driver seat is up front but no figure is included in the set, even though it's close to Technic fig size.
We can now see the second motor's purpose - it drives that black belt on the outside, which then drives the worm gear in the gearbox at the back.
That gear then rotates a single wheel below to provide steering. Also note here the normal build method of the older studded Technic - bricks and plates are stacked, and then beams are added vertically to hold it all together. It's a very strong building technique, but can be annoying since you have to alternate layers of bricks and plates to get the thickness right. Building the Hovercraft, Finished by mostlytechnic , on Flickr.
The completed hovercraft. The long wires are used to make a wired remote from the control box to the craft. They run through some axles at the top center to keep you from pulling them off.
It's a decent idea, but the cables still aren't near long enough to actually use this way. Granted, I'm a 6'3" adult, but I'd have to pretty much crawl to drive it on the floor. A couple flex cables are used at the back to "shroud" the "fan", but otherwise there's no rare parts in this vehicle. From the control box, the red A and B buttons provide forward and reverse driving just one of the front wheels so that no differential is needed and the yellow W and E steer the rear wheel.
Building the Hovercraft, the Rear by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. Here's a closer look at the back of the hovercraft. A few axles and various joiners make the frame for the flex cables to attach. The fan is driven from an axle connected to the front motor so it spins when the vehicle moves.
The Hovercraft's Underbelly by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. A look at the underside of the hovercraft - you can see the drive of the front wheel near the center of the photo. The 24 tooth gear behind the bevel gear transfers motion upward to an axle running along the top of the craft to spin the fan at the back. Looking near the top of the photo, you can see the steering wheel. It has a pretty wide range of motion, so this craft turns pretty sharply for its size.
The Hovercraft's Spares by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. There are a TON of leftover parts on this build. It's obvious that the other models were the main design and the hovercraft was just a 3rd build tossed in.
That's a gallon bag there, full of parts. Building the Helicopter, 1 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. The helicopter starts right off with a motor.
This will eventually be the cockpit here, and that motor double-geared down with the red belts and then down again via the worm gear in the gearbox will tilt the copter side to side. Building the Helicopter, 2 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. Ah, now it's starting to actually look like something. It's a pretty good sized chopper too.
The key interesting bit here is the black frame in the center where the cargo or passengers would be in a real helicopter like this. Right now that's attached to the motor in the cockpit which tilts it side to side. Later a front to back tilt mechanism will be installed into that frame to make a nice gimbal setup. Building the Helicopter, 3 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr.
Again, we get a yellow stripe to keep this mostly black set from getting TOO boring. The second motor has been installed now, where the engine would usually be in a copter of this style.
That one will eventually spin the main and tail rotors. There's some very interesting angles formed to make the tail of this helicopter. It doesn't appear to be right for quite a while, and then suddenly it pops into shape. Building the Helicopter, 4 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr.
Almost done. The wheels are stationary, and the gear at the front of the turbine under the main rotor is just decoration. But you can see the axle running to the tail rotor and how a lot of hinge plates have made for a nice shape to the helicopter.
Building the Helicopter, 5 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. Here's the rest of the gimbal. This block mounts inside the frame in the cargo hold. The axle will go down into the support structure and connect to a motor below. That rotation will work all the way up through this gearbox to tilt the chopper forwards and back the axle through the 24 tooth gear will support the whole weight of the helicopter. Building the Helicopter, 6 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr.
A look at the mechanisms. The gimbal is fully assembled now, and you can see the electrical connections on the underside of the helicopter. Eventually long cords will connect to those and provide power to the two motors inside the copter. The pin holes in the light grey base of the gimbal will connect to the support structure that's yet to be built. Lego also had to cheat a bit and put a couple gears on the outside of the helicopter since there's not room inside for them.
The drive system here: There's a motor in the cockpit. It has a small bush on it, connected to the large pulley via the red belt.
That drives the bevel gears, which turn the two gears on the ouside of the chopper. That then drives the worm gear and then the 24 tooth gear in the gearbox, which finaly tilts the black frame of the gimbal side to side. Building the Helicopter, 7 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. The base for the helicopter is fairly massive. You can see the abundance of Technic beams used already, and it's just getting started.
The whole light grey section pivots up except for the two light grey vertical beams at the right end with pins sticking out. There's a motor tucked into the right end of the light grey section as well - that drives the vertical axle coming up and then into the helicopter eventually.
They did a nice job here of making a reliable system - there's a set of slopes on the black base that ensure the grey portion is centered when it comes down each time. Building the Helicopter, 8 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr. The motor, closeup. This is obviously now raised into the air. The motor drives the vertical axle via two sets of pulleys and belts, gearing the rotation down significantly. Building the Helicopter, 9 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr.
A platform on the left has been added - in a moment the huge control panel will be mounted here. There's tiles on the beams since the control panel strangely has no holes on the bottom for studs. Building the Helicopter, 10 by mostlytechnic , on Flickr.
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